Now that everyone’s pretty much done digging out from Tuesday’s snow storm, it’s time to move on to more important things, like football.
The New England Patriots will play the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl Sunday and the usual speculation on who’s going to win has taken on an added twist as Pats’ fans and their detractors try and gauge just how much of an impact “Deflategate” will have on the outcome.
St. Mary’s athletic director Jeff Newhall gives the edge to Seattle, but said all bets are off if Richard Sherman and some the other Seahawks keep running off with the mouth.
“If they shut up they probably have a pretty good shot,” Newhall said, adding if they don’t they may regret it.
As far as the distraction of the accusation that the Patriots played with under-inflated footballs in their win over the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC championship game, Newhall sees it as being either a non-factor or something that could work in the Patriots’ favor.
“When the game is played, they (the Patriots) will be as prepared as anyone,” Newhall said. “If anyone thinks they’re going to not be focused or be a little off (because of the controversy) I think they’re a little misguided – not with these players or with this coach.”
Newhall said Seattle had a close call in the NFC championship game, but New England fans should be concerned because the chances of Seahawks having two bad games in a row and quarterback Russell Wilson being intercepted four times again aren’t good.
Lynn Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy is going with the Patriots.
“I’m going to predict a tight, low-scoring game, but I think the Patriots will pull it out,” she said, noting that Seattle has great defense and that could pose a problem for New England.
Kennedy said she does believe someone deliberately deflated the footballs in the game against the Colts, but she also thought both quarterback Tom Brady and coach Bill Belichick were pretty convincing in professing their innocence in their press conferences.
Regardless of how “Deflategate” turns out, Kennedy said she expects to see some rule changes in the NFL when it comes to control over the footballs.
Classical High football coach Tim Phelps isn’t convinced the Patriots will win the game, but he does think the football controversy will provide the team some added motivation.
“It seems to me like they’re going to kind of rally around Belichick,” Phelps said. “It could be good motivation.”
Phelps said if the Patriots can circle the wagons, and he thinks Belichick is a coach who can make that happen, then the players will buy in and be super focused.”
Phelps said the Seahawks are scary in their ability to cover you and come after you and Wilson’s ability to scramble for some big yards is also problematic. He’s expecting a close game.
Lynn Tech football coach James Runner said this year’s Super Bowl could be one of the better ones. He said no matter how things unfold in the first half, both teams have the ability to change things up and that can make for an interesting third quarter. Runner, who is predicting a Patriots’ win, said Seattle is a great offensive team, but Green Bay exposed the defense a little bit.
“I’m really excited to see the Patriots there (in the Super Bowl) again,” Runner said.
Although he had hoped for a New England – Dallas matchup, he just wants to see the Pats come away with a win.
“I’m a big fan of Vince Wilfork,” Runner said. ” I would love to see him go out with a ring.”
Runner said when he coached football at Dean College from 2005 to 2009, Wilfork, who lived near the school, would sometimes come to the practices and do defensive line drills with the players. Runner was a defensive line coach and later a defensive coordinator at Dean.
“Vince was a big supporter of the football team,” Runner said.
English High athletic director Gary Molea had reservations about the Patriots after seeing them get blown out by Kansas City early in the season, but every week after that the Patriots got better and better.
“I expect it’s going to be a great game,” Molea said. “I said about a month ago the only team I was afraid of was Seattle.”
Molea said the Seahawks don’t score a lot of points, but when they get the ball and they’re in a rhythm, it’s tough to get the ball back.
Molea is picking the Patriots to win, but he’s expecting a really close, low-scoring game. He said he wouldn’t be surprised if the Pats built up a good lead, but find keeping it a challenge.
“For some reason Pete Carroll and his guys always find a way to keep it close and come back and pull it out,” he said.
As for “Deflategate,” Molea said it will be a motivating factor because Belichick’s players always rally to his defense.
“They feel like they’ve been pushed and will respond in a positive way,” Molea said.